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By 2 February 2010 | Categories: news

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According to Net Applications, a US based company that provides usage share statistics for internet technologies, Internet Explorer 8 exceeded IE6 in market share for the first time in January 2010. IE8 now holds 22.31% of the market, compared to IE6’s 20.07%.

IE6, as an aging if not antiquated browser, presents a nightmare for web developers as it lacks support for modern web standards, lacks appropriate security features and performs poorly in comparison to more modern browsers.

Google announced last week that they will begin to phase out support for IE6 on some of their services, including Google Docs, from 1 March 2010. The company commented in a blog post, “[m]any other companies have already stopped supporting older browsers like Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers. We’re also going to begin phasing out our support, starting with Google Docs and Google Sites.”

Security is perhaps the most critical issue in phasing out IE6. The cyber attacks Google experienced in January were made possible by a flaw in IE6 which hackers were able to exploit. While Microsoft has release a patch for this security flaw, there are concerns that other such problems may exist.

Microsoft however will continue to support IE6 until 8 April 2014, when it stops supporting Windows XP. Google and other companies urge web users to upgrade to more modern web browsers like IE 7.0 and up, Firefox 3.0 and up, Google Chrome 4.0 and up, or Safari 3.0 and up. The latest version of Opera is also a good option.

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